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Lesson 2: How to stay safe when making connections on social media

Social media is a great way to stay connected to friends, family and what’s going on in the world. But with millions of users and so much information shared on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, you need to stay safe and look out for misinformation and scams.

You can download social media applications like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram directly to your mobile device or tablet; this allows you to see what’s happening with friends and family whenever you want to engage. You can follow people, brands, organizations and news outlets you trust to get updates, see photos, share messages and view videos. You can also share your own experiences by posting to your feed — or join groups with interests similar to yours.

What if you’re nervous to share with everyone who follows you? You can use the apps to send direct messages to specific individuals through video or text. Just like it sounds, a direct message can only be seen by the person(s) to whom you send it.

While social media apps are helpful, though, it’s important to recognize that criminals often use them for scams. Read more for a few simple ways to protect yourself and your family.

  • Step 1

    Use a different strong password for each of your social media accounts and protect your phone with its own password. Don’t use personal information, and avoid using real words and names. It is recommended to modify easy-to-remember phrases and combine different cases and characters.

  • Step 2

    Be selective with friend requests. If you don’t know the person in real life, it could be a fake account or an impostor. Also, if you receive a request to connect with someone you already know, and who is already a friend or follower, double-check your list of friends before accepting their invitation.

  • Step 3

    Learn to control the settings on your account to manage who can see and participate in what you post.

  • Step 4

    Be careful about what you share. Don’t share personal information like your address, financial information or phone number, as this can lead to identity theft. It’s important to keep in mind that you can disclose information without meaning to.

  • Step 5

    Stay engaged and regularly update your contact list to show friends, families and colleagues what you’ve been up to!

How to Connect Safely Online

WATCH: New technology can be very useful, but it's important to be safe. Learn a few simple ways to protect yourself and your family.

Social Media Safety

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